South Carolina Basketball: Meechie Johnson racks up the awards after stellar week

South Carolina basketball guard Meechie Johnson had a tremendous week last week, and the dynamic guard was honored with multiple weekly awards as a result.
South Carolina basketball guard Meechie Johnson
South Carolina basketball guard Meechie Johnson / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball guard Meechie Johnson has been through some adversity this season.

After starting the year looking like a legitimate All-American candidate (13/14 games in double-figures, including 5 games of at least 24 points), Johnson hit a wall, scoring less than 10 points in 8 of 12 games, including two scoreless outings and just one game with better than 50% shooting efficiency.

While he struggled to find his shot, #5 continued to play hard and found other ways to contribute most nights. Strong defensive efforts and good games as the second distributor to point guard Ta'Lon Cooper helped the Gamecocks go 9-3 even when their most dynamic scorer wasn't himself.

Those struggles feel like a distant memory now, however, as Meechie Johnson rightfully declared "I'm back" during one of the two USC wins last week.

How back is he? So back that he was named the SEC's Player of the Week and the Lute Olson National Player of the Week. He shared the SEC Player of the Week honor with Tennessee Dalton Knecht.

In a road contest against the fighting-for-their-NCAA-Tournament-lives Texas A&M Aggies, Johnson made 50% of his shots en route to a 22-point outing on the road. Down the stretch, he made or assisted on all 9 of the Gamecocks' points in the 2-point victory, and he also had a steal, a block, and an offensive rebound in the final minutes as his team held off the Aggies.

He was even better on Saturday against the ranked Florida Gators. He scored 25 against the fellow 1st -place hopeful, 21 of those points coming in the 2nd half. Johnson scored seemingly at will late in the game, taking Florida defenders to the hole with ease until they had to play off him so far that he easily was able to make what became the deciding 3-pointer. He also was an active part of a suffocating 1-3-1 defense that flummoxed the Gators and sparked a 23-10 run.

Johnson and the Gamecocks will play against the Tennessee Volunteers on Wednesday with 1st place in the SEC on the line. If the Vols win, they win at least a share of the regular season title. If the Gamecocks win, they will be tied with Tennessee at the top of the standings with one game left to play and will have beaten the Vols both times this year. Currently, the Alabama Crimson Tide is tied with Carolina with 4 conference losses.

Next. South Carolina Basketball: Where the Gamecocks rank in the latest AP top-25. South Carolina Basketball: Where the Gamecocks rank in the latest AP top-25. dark